Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Are You Reading Between the Covers? - #9

I recently joined Goodreads, so if anyone wants to see a full selection of my book selections they can check out the animated widgets in the right-hand column to see what I'm reading.

Prenote: This post contains a graphic review pertaining to the meat industry and the treatment of animals that may be disturbing to some readers.

It's no surprise I am a fan of David Wellington's. I've blogged about him before and enjoy his writing. I recently finished the second Laura Caxton vampire novel, 99 coffins. (The first novel in the series is 13 Bullets, which I recommend). 99 Coffins is a historical novel featuring Gettysburg and some creepy Civil War soldiers. I won't say more about the plot because I am not a book spoiler, but there is a twist at the end I did not see coming and quite enjoyed. The book is a fast-action read. It's straightforward like a video game, but well written and worth the time, if you love vampires. Plus, these vampires aren't full of whining, angst, and lust. They're just killing machines with attitude. Love that!

I switched gears then and read a very sobering novel, which I don't recommend to the squeamish. It's Don LePan's Animals, a story dealing with the treatment of animals in the meat industry, mainly, factory farming. Factory farming is basically bulk farming where animals' standards of living are horrendous. (I've included a link for those who want to explore the term further, but please be warned that the content, both visual and written, is graphic). This book argues that factory farming is cruel and inhumane by making the unique choice to use children as the livestock -- children of lower intelligence who are unwanted by their parents 100 years in the future and are referred to as mongrels and kept as family pets, if they are not sent to the slaughter yards.

This novel is haunting, beautifully written, and sad. It raises a lot of questions about the use of antibiotics and the meat/dairy industry, speciesism, the practice of favoring some animals like dogs and cats with better treatment than cows, pigs, and other animals, whether or not meat is a necessary part of your diet, whether organic meat is better than factory farmed meat, and about how we treat people who are different than what we deem "normal" in our society. I'd like to say it had a happy ending, but it didn't. I ended up crying in bed while my husband slept unaware beside me.

Don LePan also has a blog dedicated to his novel:

http://donlepan.blogspot.com/

For further reading on the treatment of animals in the meat/dairy industries, you can check here:

http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/farm-animal-cruelty/?gclid=CPHFxoLpp6cCFU1f2god1h-a_w

http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/factoryfarming/

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/campaigns/factory_farming/

http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/subjects/f/factory_farming/index.html

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all! (Perhaps this week I should have put "productive reading" or something else after my sobering book review...)

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